Monday, June 9, 2014

A bed time story for all.
I had a little bit of fun with this one in June of 2013 when the casino issue was floating around. I have included it here because, as we all know, this issue is still out there.....

It was a calm day today on the way to the mailbox. Cumulous clouds could be seen on the horizon. The front looked to be coming from the East this time and not the West and was actually heading our way. Interesting.
While trying to unlock my mailbox, the headline in the paper caught my eyes: Surrey’s casino bid heading to Tsawwassen. Hmn. Putting down the paper I rummaged around my mailbox failing to find something other than bills and advertisements. As I opened the paper my first thought was gleeful. I pictured the failing casino bid to keep heading, well,  West. Jumping on a Ferry (free government cargo) and ending up where it started; in Victoria. Would our fair Capital city go for this Casino or would it simmer there until some bright soul sold its merits to the States? Time for a cup of coffee. Maybe the paper will have some of the usual exciting letters to the editor.

My coffee ended up getting cold as I digested the news. I swished the dark liquid around in my cup only to put it out of range of the flailing paper. The casino issue seemed to be stirring up more than the usual level of aggravation. And not just at the Provincial government. The more I read, the less likely it seemed that the casino would be passed up by the local developers. Not that this was a surprise, but Tsawwassen? And why and how, all of a sudden, was Ottawa involved? Yes, a storm most definitely seems to be brewing.

Victoria’s involvement can easily be explained, some MLA’s pass by this burg regularly when catching a ferry. These folk would know where to place it on the map: Shy of Victoria and not beyond Hope. It would seem a safe bet that they would wish to stop the Casino issue before it caught the ferry and came “home”. The Federal involvement  one could rightly assume, might be a little more convoluted. Moving on to the next page of the paper I thought about trying another cup of coffee. It looked like I might have to use some caffeine generated intellect today. Tough decision. Today is Saturday after all. Was I really going to put all my expensive post-secondary education to the task on my day off?

I decided against the coffee and laid down on the couch. Within no time the paper fell from my hands as the TV played an old rerun.  My mind started applying itself to the players in the situation in a pleasant dreamlike state.  Now I have to warn you: there is no editor in this state of mind. No guardian of virtues. No one to guide my thoughts or actions. As a younger man I have had many an anguished moment for my dreams. I have never been able to differentiate between guilt and pleasure in knowing just what my mind could get up to. Anyway, there is no need in involving you in my imaginary past: I’m sure you have your own. As my eyes closed the casino players evolved. They were obvious, but what was each of their involvements? There was a native governing body, the TFN.  There were, of course, the Provincial and Federal Governments and here it gets interesting. The local council gets swept in, in all innocence.
Slipping lazily onto an aircraft my dream had me flying to Victoria and Ottawa to find the roots of all this hoofera. No holds barred, I went Business Class and was treated like a Senator; lots of leg room, free liquor and only a raucus rock and roll group to keep me company. Now in Victoria I find out our enterprising government is desperately looking to place a casino. Having failed in Vancouver and in Surrey they are now considering a First Nations “partner” south of the Fraser. After all we wouldn’t want the money spending Canadians to head south of the border for some gambling fun.  This, Victoria tell us, is a must as we will be beaten to this revenue by the USA if we don’t a casino up ourselves.

My dream slips me onto another aircraft, this time to Ottawa, I find myself in Business Class yet again (dreams are like that). Having shed the noisy musicians from the earlier flight I find myself talking to an inebriated accountant visiting from Britain. He has been busy trying to explain the Euro Crisis to Victoria and is himself on the way to Ottawa. As he downs his fourth Whishkey (his word) he starts doodling on his wet napkin covered with pretzel crumbs. Let’s see he says: Let’s separate everyone involved so we can see if we can figger this out. We’ll call the parties…let’s see… Local (L) for your native government. Ehm, and the local council should be..still .. ohso Local (S.O.L). Victoria is not so Local (Not S.O.L) and we’ll have to do Ottawar justice….let’s see they’re Way and less Local (WALL) .  Yes, da seems raither appropriate. Tanks darling”. He says to the stewardess who hands him another ‘Whiskey’. He carefully pours the little bottle in his plastic beaker taking care not to spill a dram.

“Ok”. He says licking his lips having slaked his thirst one more time. The Feds, whatyercall -WALL, are in a bit of a bind with the treaty and are looking for a favour. Am I right? Better yet they are also looking to have someone pay for that favour.  Having received a new napkin he starts to lay out his newfound knowledge. Now party L wants sewage treatment from party S.O.L. He looks at me over his reading glasses and I nod in agreement. But S.O.L is not inclined to take on more sh*t (sorry, his word) than they can handle. Again, he looks and I nod. So WALL calls their friends at Not S.O.L. Knowing no one will butt their heads up against WALL, they order S.O.L to take care of L’s …eh…plumbing needs. Am I right so far? This time he doesn’t look at me but carefully empties his beaker and looks at the bottom to make sure there is no more. I imagine, he says looking wistfully out of the window that, before SOL even understands what this means they throw in the caveat that Not S.O.L would also like a casino. How’m I doing youngster”?  I nod my head. The Feds-your WALL- probably sees this as a promise and not a threat.  A fair exchange to pay for the sewage issue, right? The tone of his laughter has been shaped by many years of ‘whiskey ‘and I find myself smiling. He says S.O.L is probably thinking (in an agreeved tone): “What; take L’s road apples and let them haul in the cash? While we deal with the mess? All the while Not S.O.L is wringing their hands. An election is on the way. Money in the bank and all is fixed! Yes, politicians are a lot unto themselves.”
Again that throaty laugh as the pilot comes on the PA system to tell us to buckle up; we’re landing in Ottawa.

Stirring on the couch a snore escapes my lips and wakes me up. I find my head bobbing from side to side as though I were watching a tennis match, wondering what the next volley will look like. A casino. Now, is that the promise of a casino or a threat of a casino? If only someone could help me understand all these shenanigans.


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